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Philologies and the construction of an open society. Possibilities, goals, challenges.

The Department of Hispanic Studies of the Pedagogical University in Cracow

is honored to invite you to the conference

 Philologies and the construction of an open society. Possibilities, goals, challenges.

to be held on 20-21 October 2017 in Cracow

The goal of this conference is to provide an arena for an international debate concerning the role of philologies, both national and foreign, in the construction of an open society. The term, borrowed from Karl Popper’s philosophy (“The Open Society and Its Enemies”), refers to a society built on the basis of freedom, equality, humaneness and rational thinking. As highlighted by the author, this type of social structure “is still in its infancy, […] [but] continues to grow in spite of the fact that it has been so often betrayed by so many of the intellectual leaders of mankind” (Popper 2002 1945: XXXV).

Recently we have been observing in the Western culture a growing wave of animosity towards the fundamental values of the open society, to a large extent synonymous with a democratic society. We are convinced that academics should not remain indifferent in the face of those disconcerting tendencies on the surge both in the national and international settings, and employ available means to defend the open society as a civilizational accomplishment which, imperfect as it still may be, has an inherent mechanism of auto- criticism and is liable to improvement.

During the conference we aspire to cover the following topics related to the everyday activity in the philology (literature and language) department as well as, more generally, to working and teaching in the higher education system:

  • Literature, theatre and other narrative forms (film, comic) as a means of building dialogue, enhancing empathy and constructive social critique;
  • Literary analysis as a way to develop general analytic and critical capacities;
  • Deepened knowledge of the national and international history as the basis of the responsible civic engagement;
  • Influence of the acquisition of a foreign language on the perception of people from different cultural circles;
  • Learning about other cultures as a way of eliminating xenophobic attitudes;
  • Translation as the basis of intercultural dialogue;
  • University as an institution pursuing the aim of discovering and communicating the truth (Statutes of the Pedagogical University in Cracow, 2015:6);
  • University as an institution responsible not only for teaching, but also for “bringing the students up in the atmosphere of respect for human rights, patriotism, democracy, tolerance and responsibility for the fate of the society and the country” (Statutes of the Pedagogical University in Cracow, 2015:7).

The debate is aimed at analysing the possibilities, goals and challenges faced by the philologists working in the academic structures in the context of the observed political and social changes, as well as discussing the question of our responsibility for the open society’s present and future.

Conference languages: Polish, English, Spanish.

Among the keynote speakers we will have an opportunity to hear prof. Shelley Godsland from the Unviversity of Amsterdam (Spanish and Hispanic literature), prof. Seth Baumrin from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York (theatre),  prof. Wojciech Browarny from the University of Wrocław (Polish literature) and prof. Tomasz Zarębski from the University of Lower Silesia (philosophy).

Conference fee: 350 PLN/ 85 EURO

Students and doctoral candidates: 250 PLN/ 60 EURO

Please use the provided form to send us your paper proposal.

The form should be sent to

Selected papers will be published in a post-conference volume.

Should you have any queries, please feel free to contact Ewelina Topolska, PhD

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

The Organizing Committee

Prof. Nina Pluta- Podleszańska

Jorge Cabezas Miranda, PhD

Ingrid Petkova Móczárné, PhD

Ewelina Topolska, PhD (coordinator)